Roger's Story

Roger's Story

Roger Harris decided to become a foster parent 11 years ago after becoming a big brother figure to a one of his students. He now provides care through our Homes That Heal treatment foster care (TFC) program in the St. Louis area, working with youth who have experienced high levels of trauma.

Roger’s approach to foster care is to treat all youth entrusted to him as his own biological children. He sets high expectations, but is skilled at helping youth believe in their ability to meet those expectations. This methodology has earned him the nickname Big Poppa. According to Roger, most of the youth that come through his home end up keeping in touch after leaving.

“Many of them are now between the ages of 25 and 30, and they still call me Big Poppa. To be honest, it took me a while to come to the understanding that I really am that to them and the respect for me is still there. When I visit some of them, I'm in awe when I see that they do things just how I do them. They were paying more attention to me than I knew.”

This year, Roger was awarded the honor of "Homes That Heal Provider of the Year" by our St. Louis staff. Mockia Shelton, the program manager, praises his flexibility and patience with the youth in his care.

“Mr. Harris always goes above and beyond to advocate for the needs of the children in his home,” she says. “He holds a valuable role as a professional team member and he’s very influential and effective in providing services to the youth.”

Whether through foster care, working as an office manager or serving with his local church, Roger has centered his life around serving others. Roger’s faith is central to his commitment to fostering, and he says that he thanks God for the opportunity to help others the way he was helped as a young man.

“My hope for each child that I foster is that they can look back and say that I'm one adult who didn't let them down,” he says. “I've had several children tell me when they become successful, they would come back and compensate me financially. My response has always been that if they really wanted to show their appreciation, the way to do it would be to help others the way they've been helped. Pass it on.”

If you, like Roger, want to be there for youth who need a loving home, reach out to our foster care team.